The Special Commission of Inquiry into ice established by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will, subject to the Governor’s approval, be granted enhanced powers and, at the Commissioner’s direction, will hold public hearings in Sydney, as well as in Broken Hill, Dubbo, the Hunter region, Lismore and Nowra.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, on the advice of Commissioner Professor Dan Howard SC, has recommended that the Governor approve enhanced powers for the Commission to allow it to compel witnesses to attend and answer questions, and compel the production of information, as part of revised terms of reference for the Commission. “Ice and other illegal drugs are having a shocking impact on communities across NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“To ensure the Commission has the extensive powers it needs to help us combat the use of ice and other illegal drugs – and to get help for those who need it – I have recommended that special powers be approved to get the job done.”
The Commissioner has announced that hearings will be held in Sydney, as well as in Broken Hill, Dubbo, the Hunter region, Lismore and Nowra – those places being among the regions that the Commission has identified as having been significantly affected by ice.
“We know that ice and other illegal drugs are hitting our regions particularly hard, which is why it will be so important that the Commission hears from people in our regional communities with first-hand experience of these challenges,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Additionally, in line with the Commissioner’s advice, the Commission will inquire and report not just in relation to ice, but also in relation to other illicit amphetamine type stimulants, in recognition of the nature of drug culture and the fact that many ice users also use other drugs.
Under the revised terms of reference, the Commissioner will consult with an expert advisory panel and various stakeholders, consider any drug-related recommendations from any NSW inquest held during the course of the Commission, and prepare and publish an issues paper and call for public submissions.
The Commissioner has advised that a Directions Hearing will be held in Sydney on 28 March 2019 and that additional hearing dates for Sydney, and dates for regional hearings, will soon be determined and announced.